Thursday, May 17, 2007

A nice story from MSNBC that points out what many of us in the health professions have believed for years. We pay more for less that other countries. While the article subtly attempts to link it to lack of universal health care, I feel it's more related to consumer (that's right consumer not patient) attitudes, laws that limit efficient choice of health care providers, and our for-profit insurance structure.

As we feel we are no longer patients but consumers of health care, we demand the best, demand it now, and demand to pay very little for it (for those with insurance). Unfortunately, these three are mutually exclusive. We have to give on one to receive the other two. We tried for many years to ignore that and operate like we could get away with it. Now, we are seeing the consequences. Insurance rates rising, health costs rising, and benefits being cut back. Universal health care won't fix this problem.

Personally, another bottleneck and source of increased health care costs is our inability to access rehab services with out a physicians ok. Often times this results in at least to unnecessary office visits to a practitioner with less musculoskeletal knowledge then the PT, and delayed care.

Finally, insurance providers are out to make money. Plain and simple. And with out proper regulation, they will continue to work together (when we can't do the same to oppose them) to drive down their costs. This includes increasing premiums, deductibles and co-pays while simultaneously decreasing what they pay to practitioners and what they will actually cover.

What is the answer? We as consumers need to take responsibility for what services we demand (not, well insurance will pay for it so just do it), and also require that our insurance companies incorporate our needs into figuring their bottom line.


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